The day Chiefs Kingdom has been waiting for since January has finally arrived and it comes packed with even more excitement, thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs Week 1 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
What followed was a week of practice, fan excitement, including a Red Friday celebration, which ended with a team pep rally, attended by several of the Chiefs players and countless fans, jolted with adrenaline for this very day, the 2013 home opener at Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs fans want nothing more than to see head coach Andy Reid, general manager John Dorsey and the entire team walking to the locker room victoriously, embraced by the Sea of Red.
Standing in the way of that hopeful postgame celebration are the Dallas Cowboys, fresh off their Week 1 win against the New York Giants. The Cowboys bring to town a lot of talent in all three phases, beginning on offense.
"You see the complete package," Chiefs DE Mike DeVito said. "You see the running game that's excelling; you see great receivers and you see a veteran quarterback, a lot of different weapons. They have a lot of different threats and so, we have to be on our game, across the board."
Fellow Chiefs defensive end, Tyson Jackson spoke more about the Cowboys veteran QB, Tony Romo.
"He's a little bit more mobile than most quarterbacks," Jackson said. "He can move around a lot in the pocket and give himself time to let those receivers get open down the field. I think as a defensive line unit, we have to stay after him and continue to get a lot of pressure in the backfield to make him as uncomfortable as possible."
Jackson, DeVito and their fellow defensive lineman, Chiefs DT Dontari Poe will have even more time to get to Romo, if the Chiefs linebackers and secondary perform like they did in Jacksonville.
"Our whole defense will be challenged," Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers said. "Including (Cowboys TE) Jason Witten, they have one of the best weapons as a core with WRs Dez Bryant and Miles Austin; we're going to be challenged on the back end. They can also run the ball with (Cowboys RB) DeMarco Murray. Our front seven will be challenged; so, it's going to take a group effort like it did last week in Jacksonville to bring the offense to a halt. We're all buying in; it's going to be a great game."
If Chiefs fans are wondering about the interactions between friends, Brandon Flowers and former Chiefs CB Brandon Carr, now with the Cowboys, Flowers very clearly stated his plans.
"I'm not going to talk to him, until after the game" Flowers said. "It's all about business. We're both trying to get wins. We want to go 2-0."
To get their second win of the season, Chiefs QB Alex Smith will play a huge role, as well as his offensive line, RBs, TEs and WRs.
"They get after the QB very well," Chiefs OL Jeff Allen said of the Cowboys defense. "They have a lot of good pass rushers up-front. Everyone knows (Cowboys DE) DeMarcus Ware, of course, but the other guys up there are great pass rushers too and they do a good job in the run game, letting their linebackers run free and make a lot of plays, so we have to do a good job on double teams and get off those double teams to the backers. When our QB is taking those extra hits, when he's not supposed to, I know I speak for the entire offensive line when I say that we take that personal."
Chiefs QB Alex Smith said for his team to be successful today, it just has to focus on basic fundamentals.
"When you're carrying the football, you carry it the right way," Smith said. "When you're in the pocket (and you're) the quarterback, you have two hands on the football. You do the right thing, fundamentals. Make good decisions in the passing game. I think it's all of the fundamentals that allow you to win games."
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson addressed some of the challenges his offense will see from Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's Tampa-2 defense.
"The Tampa-2 is one of Monte's staples from way back," coach Pederson said. "It's all eyes on the quarterback, just reading the QB. They put in their three-deep stuff and it creates eight-man spacing; it's harder to run the ball. But overall, our guys have to be real precise on their routes and then of course, the quarterback's vision will be crucial."
Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe is up for today's challenge, focused on the key to success against the Dallas secondary.
"Just recognizing the defenses," Bowe said. "As long as you recognize the defenses, before the snap, guys can just go out there and play ball, instead of seeing different coverages and trying to think on the run. I think once we figure that out from the jump, it's just pitch and catch. Everyday practice skills kick in after that."
Speaking of kicks, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub said the plan for his kicker, Ryan Succop, remains steadfast.
"We feel like right now, he's able to dial up those touchbacks," Toub said. "That's a plus. There might be a situation where we have a dead wind right in our face and we have to cover it, but right now, everything being equal, when there's no wind out there, we feel good with him being able to kick a touchback for us."
And of course, if and when needed, the Chiefs will also rely on Succop to split the uprights on PATs and field goals.
So, as we get ready for today's kickoff, I found Chiefs T Branden Albert's comment from earlier this week very fitting, describing the power of Arrowhead Stadium's Sea of Red.
"Because you see that Sea of Red," Albert said. "When you pull up to the stadium Sunday morning and see everybody tailgating, you know it's go time. Everybody is excited and everybody's barbecuing and you see the Sea of Red and when that game starts, it's breathtaking – it'll take you back."
Chiefs Kingdom, it's time to be taken back!
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